Yesterday, at work, before I gave my patient her pain med – I checked her ID bracelet and asked her name and birthdate - “4/4/91” That date, so casually spoken, shot, like an arrow in my heart. That’s the day Emily was born.
I expected a flood of grief and pain but there wasn’t any. Instead, what I felt was curiousity for that lack. I explored what it would be like to be the mother of a grown woman, 24 years old, who had just had a baby, and except for feeling a bit deprived from ever having that experience, I went on with my day.
Later that evening, on the loveseat with Ray, watching the TV show “Grey’s anatomy”, Mark Sloan was taken off life support.
That’s when the grief came. The pain of 8 years ago, of making that same decision, of being with Emily when we stopped her life support, I cried like my own heart was freshly broken.
Grief is like that. We don’t get to choose when the attack comes. But we learn to stuff the pain until the time is right to let it out. We learn how to fake that we are OK, until we really are OK.